MOSCOW versus EUROPE?
On the troika (the three-spanned team of horses) Russia flies, inspired
by God. O Russia, whither art thou dashing ? Reply ! But she replies
not; the horses' bells break into a wondrous sound j the shattered air
becomes a tempest and the thunder growls. Russia flies past all else
upon the earth; and other peoples., kingdoms and empires gaze askance
as they stand aside to make way for her.
(Gogol, Dead Souls).
6 Russia versus Europe 3 was reminiscent of the slogan c Bolshevism
against the World.' From the beginning of the German invasion of the
Soviet Union, and subsequent entry of the latter into the camp of the
Allies, any reference to the c bogy of Communism ' was taboo among the
United Nations. Discussions on this topic were considered to be prac-
tically savouring of the work of the Fifth Column. Therefore, mention
of RussiaŚher past, present or futureŚwas virtually a one-sided business,
i.e., she might be praised, but adverse criticism was tantamount to sowing
c disunity among the Allies/ As events were to show, criticism became
almost dangerous during 1943-1944, particularly in Britain, where, after
the Russian victories, a wave of adulation for the Soviets was then
sweeping that country. After listening for twenty-five years to stories of
the horrors and cruelty of Moscow dictatorship, the peoples of the United
Nations heard with relief of the achievements of the Red Army. With
the German war machine well occupied in the east, the fear of an invasion
of England had been extinguished and she was enjoying a period of
respite connected, unconsciously or consciously, with Russia.
None of this, however, could help in the understanding of the Soviet
Union and her designs. Had she, in fact, become an Ally not merely
for the duration of this war, but for the post-war era as well, thereby
safely establishing by this alliance the basis of a future world, or was this
war alliance of the Soviets nothing more than a transient necessity ?
Had Russia indeed changed her policy and, if so, to what extent ? The
British and Americans, officials and Press alike, who had recently visited
that country., did not talk a great deal on their return. One thing was
sureŚwar had not broken down Russian isolationism. Its youth, who
formed such an overwhelming majority of the population, educated under
an entirely different system, had not been given the opportunity of under-
standing the peoples of the western world; similarly, it was beyond the
conception of that world to realise that the terms * freedom, neutrality,
war and peace, democracy or faith9 and a thousand other words,
possessed an entirely^different meaning in the mouth of the Soviets.
The Anglo-Saxon nations did not wish to visualise the possibility of
Russia's victories being exploited to extend the realm of the dark powers